Iowa’s three public universities are asking lawmakers for an additional $18 million in the next fiscal year.

In the past two years, lawmakers cut millions more than that from Iowa, Iowa State and the University of Northern Iowa to make up for lower-than-expected state tax revenue. Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen says if the request isn’t met, the financial burden will continue to shift to students in the form of higher tuition.

“That’s something that everyone needs to remember. What do we want our reputation in Iowa to be? Historically, for 100 years, it’s been about supporting education, having an educated workforce, supporting innovation in science,” Wintersteen says.

Iowa President Bruce Harreld says although he might sound like a broken record, the universities still need more funding.

“Simply put, you’re either investing new resources and thus adding value and building a winning culture or you’re cutting, reducing value and creating a downward failing spiral,” Harreld said.

University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook says the $4 million increase he’s requesting would keep tuition rates for UNI students stable. ISU and Iowa are each asking for an $8 million increase — and the presidents of those schools say they’d use the extra money to boost financial assistance to students. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has endorsed the $18 dollar boost for the universities in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City, but Republicans in the legislature haven’t signaled whether they intend to provide extra money to the schools.

(Thanks to Katarina Sostaric, Iowa Public Radio)